Sexual abuse can occur in even the most reputable nursing homes. If your loved one experiences sexual abuse while living in a skilled nursing facility, they might be traumatized, fearful, or injured. No one should suffer the indignity and trauma of sexual abuse from their caregivers. For nursing home residents victimized by sexual abuse, the perpetrator should be held responsible for their actions.
Discussing your potential legal case with a Tucson sexual abuse lawyer can provide you with guidance on your legal options for recourse. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to speak with a member of our team. There is no cost for the consultation, and we want to listen to the details of your case to help you decide what to do next.
Types of Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault comprises many types of actions. All types, however, hold one thing in common: They happen against the victim’s will or without their consent. Sexual assault also covers actions that occur when an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, disabled, or below the age of consent in the state where the assault transpired.
The National Institute of Justice lists the following activities as forms of sexual assault when they happen in the above circumstances:
- Intentionally touching the victim’s genitals, breasts, groin, or anus
- Exposing the victim to exhibitionisms
- Exposing the victim to pornography
- Publicly displaying images taken of the victim in a “private context” or without their knowledge
These actions may or may not involve the use of actual force, weapons, threats of force, intimidation, coercion, or pressure.
Although in some states, sexual assault stops short of attempted rape or rape, other states use the terms interchangeably, and still others consider rape to be a form of sexual assault. In a situation of rape, the victim suffers nonconsensual penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral), either by objects or the perpetrator’s body parts. This type of assault involves physical force or threats of physical harm. Alternatively, the victim is considered a minor or was incapacitated at the time of the assault.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
In some cases, a senior will not or cannot disclose what happened to them. However, there are some signs of sexual abuse to look out for:
- Pelvic injuries: Pelvic injuries are fairly rare in general. If a loved one suffers from a pelvic injury while under the care of nursing home staff, it warrants a conversation with their doctor and nursing home administrators as to what happened to them to cause the injury. Any accidental injuries should be reported and well-documented.
- Bloody underwear: Underwear that is soiled or bloody could indicate sexual assault or trauma.
- Unexplained bruises: Unexplained bruising around breasts, genitals, thighs, or buttocks could signal signs of sexual abuse. Generally, seniors do not fall and accidentally bruise these areas on their own.
- Genital bleeding: Bleeding from the vagina or anus could be a sign of sexual trauma.
- PTSD: If your loved one suffers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, they could be adversely impacted by the sexual trauma.
- STDs: Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or infections while your loved one is under the care of a skilled nursing home could be a sign of sexual abuse.
- Suicidal ideation: Some sexually abused seniors may suffer from suicidal ideation or suicide attempts after their sexual abuse or assault.
This list represents just some of the signs of sexual abuse to look out for. Other signs are possible. If you have concerns based on your loved one’s behavior, always investigate. Talk to their doctors and the authorities if you have any suspicion of sexual abuse. It is better to err on the side of caution and to investigate any suspicious behavior than to realize that a loved one has experienced ongoing sexual abuse while under the care of a nursing home.
For a free legal consultation with a Tucson Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Tucson, call (800) 794-0444
Long-Term Impacts of Sexual Abuse
The impacts of sexual abuse do not end when the abuse ends. According to the American Psychological Association, some sexual abuse victims suffer from the long-term effects of PTSD for many years or decades after the trauma first occurred. This can manifest in the form of anxiety, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. If your loved one contracted a sexually transmitted disease from the abuse, it is possible that the STD will never be cured.
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When to Seek Legal Action
Any time that someone takes actions to injure or harm your loved one, you can opt to seek legal action to understand paths for recourse. You can seek legal action the moment that you discover the sexual abuse. It can be a part of your initial steps to move your loved one to a more secure environment. Even if the abuse took place in the past, it might still be possible to pursue legal action. The best way to know is to discuss your case with a Tucson sexual abuse lawyer who can provide more information about the statute of limitations and the type of evidence that you may need to secure.
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Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the amount of time that you can file charges against someone after the date of the injury or crime. In the case of sexual abuse in Tucson, the following statute of limitations applies for criminal charges:
- 7 years for sexual abuse
- No statute of limitation for sexual assault or violent sexual assault
- 7 years for sexual misconduct from behavioral health professionals
These are some of the criminal statutes of limitations for the state of Arizona. However, there could be variations for civil sexual abuse cases, depending on the circumstances of what happened. Discuss the details of your specific case with a Tucson sexual abuse lawyer to gain more information about how the statutes of limitations will apply to your case.
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Steps to Recovery
According to Psychology Today, one way that you can support your loved one after they experienced sexual abuse is to believe them unconditionally and to let them know that what happened to them is not their fault. By helping your loved one regain some sense of control over their lives, you can help to restore their feeling of power. This can be difficult for nursing home residents, who may already feel somewhat powerless as they recover from an injury or require full-time care. Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit against the person responsible can help your loved one move forward.
Common Sexual Abuse Expenses
It is all too easy to overlook the expenses associated with sexual abuse, as your focus is entirely on the victim. However, most sexual abuse victims incur some expenses as a result of what happened to them. You can hold the perpetrator and potentially the nursing home facility accountable for these expenses. Some common sexual abuse expenses include medical treatment, cognitive therapy and counseling, the cost of moving into a different nursing home, and pain and suffering.
Discuss Your Potential Case with Our Legal Team
Recovering from sexual abuse can be a long and emotionally draining process. Consider getting the support you need so you can focus on the recovery process by securing the help of a Tucson sexual abuse lawyer. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to speak with a member of our legal team about your potential sexual abuse case. The call is free and there is no obligation.